While originating from the African continent, this Central Africa Mbangu mask is likely not created by the tribe who invented the design. The tribal attribution indicates the origin of the design, not the object.
Photographs © Hamill Gallery
MBANGU MASK 19
10.5" high x 8.5" wide x 4.5" deep
This mask exhibits an unusually pronounced distortion of the nose and mouth. The chin is odd, the mask appears to combine several styles and may not be Pende. There is a small stable crack above and below the right eye.
The mask is recognized by an opposition of black and white that bisects the face and a general distortion of facial features specifically the twisted
nose and mouth. The color white, symbolic of the spirits of the dead, in this case represents the hope of being cured of illness. The black pigment
stands for the sickness and illness that ravages one throughout life. The combination of black against white symbolizes this struggle. It is very rare in
Africa to find any work of art that depicts an individual strickened by sickness, infirmity or any type of disease.
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